Lori Verhelst and her granddaughter Kalia Vandergaag show off the perfectly half red, half yellow apple Lori found in a bag of Pink Ladies purchased at a supermarket in Smithers. (Thom Barker photo)

Lori Verhelst and her granddaughter Kalia Vandergaag show off the perfectly half red, half yellow apple Lori found in a bag of Pink Ladies purchased at a supermarket in Smithers. (Thom Barker photo)

Northern B.C. woman finds apple with split personality

The Pink Lady apple is perfectly half red, half yellow as if painted

When Telkwa’s Lori Verhelst brought home a bag of Pink Lady apples from the No Frills in Smithers last week, she was in for a big surprise.

When she pulled one of the apples out of the bag, she found it was precisely half red and half yellow, as if someone had painted it or two different apples had been cut in half and stuck together.

“Of course, I was very surprised,” Verhelst said. “I went to my husband and I said, ‘take a look at this,’ and he said, ‘holy, we better contact the paper.

“We put it on Facebook and some people didn’t believe it was real.”

There have been other reports of similar phenomena. Newspapers in the U.K. have reported on at least three different cases of the same thing with different varieties of apples. They cite experts as saying it is more than a million to one chance that something like this would happen and that it is likely a random genetic mutation.

RELATED: Freaky Fruit Friday

Dr. Loren Reiseberg, a professor in the agriculture department at University of British Columbia, however, said it could be as simple as one side of the apple being exposed to direct sunlight and the other not, but admitted he could be wrong.

Dr. Andrew Riseman, another UBC expert was much more certain. He called the apple a ‘periclinal chimera,’ which means a body that contains two different genotypes.

“At some point in the fruit’s development, a cell mutated to block red pigment production and it’s daughter cells inherited the mutation leading to the pattern,” he told The Interior News via email.

Chimera is derived from the Greek word khimaira, a mythical fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a serpent.

In medical science, a chimera is an organism with genetic material from two or more sources. Researchers in various parts of the world are experimenting with human-animal chimeras as a means of growing human organs for transplants.

Verhelst put the apple in the refrigerator to preserve it until she could show people how interesting it is. She said she was tempted to try to preserve it somehow, but as of Friday afternoon was planning to go ahead and eat it.

The Pink Lady apple (also known as Cripps Pink) was originally cultivated by Australian researcher John Cripps by crossing a Golden Delicious with a Lady Williams in 1973. They first came to Canada in the 1990s. It was the first apple variety to have a registered trademark name.



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lori Verhelst of Telkwa got a big surprise when she brought home a bag of Pink Lady apples on Wednesday, a perfectly half red, half yellow fruit. (Contributed photo)

Lori Verhelst of Telkwa got a big surprise when she brought home a bag of Pink Lady apples on Wednesday, a perfectly half red, half yellow fruit. (Contributed photo)

Just Posted

The Pacific Rim Whale Festival is breaching for a COVID-safe return in March. (Poster photo by Owen Crosby)
Pacific Rim Whale Festival aims for virtual return in March

Educational celebration scheduled to arrive in Tofino-Ucluelet on March 15.

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

JJ Belanger is running for mayor in Tofino’s March 6 byelection. (Photo courtesy of JJ Belanger)
Belanger enters Tofino’s mayoralty race

Belanger is former chair of Tourism Tofino and current general manager of Crystal Cove Beach Resort.

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read